Archive for September, 2008

Sep 30 2008

The Krypton Olfactor

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Mr Maxi Cane is on a mission.The Smellumentary If you haven’t yet heard of his Smellumentary, check out this link. He’s planning on going 30 days without washing, without changing his clothes and, worst of all, without changing his underwear. Do we want to be around him when he does this? Definitely not! But do we want to see how he gets on with his project? Absolutely!

Of course, it’s not enough just to sit at home and veg out for a month – you need to interact with the public; you need to watch their faces as you raise your arms to hail a taxi, Maxi. So, we have the Smellenges – challenging Maxi to do normal things, turned abnormal by the man’s filthy stench.

He has come up with some ideas himself, but I’ve got some smellenges of my own.

1. Go to the Cinema

Easy, yes? Well, there’s a bit more to it. You have to make a phonecall at 6.50pm from the top of Grafton Street, booking a 7pm showing in Cineworld on the other side of the city. Then, you just have to make it to the film on time. Simple! Oh, and it needs to be a recent release. We’ll be needing a packed house. 🙂

2. You Need to Look the Part

Maxi, you’re moving up in the world. The floral shirts and cycling shorts just won’t cut it anymore. When you’ve finished your Smellumentary, there’ll be TV interviews and press conferences. You’ll need to look the part. So, I think it a good idea to get measured for a lovely new suit. I’m told Brown Thomas’ men’s department are very helpful. See if they’ll take your measurements for a brand new suit.

3. Not All Male Grooming is Out

Fine, you may not be washing or changing your clothes, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a complete slob. A nice tight haircut and perhaps a shave will make you feel wonderful. I know a particularly fine Barber on the Quays and I’ll even fork out for the cost of the haircut, as long as I can be there to watch.


The SmellumentaryWell, Maxi, what do you think of those suggestions? If you’re not happy with them, I’m sure Lottie can come up with some even more diabolical ones. I bet Andrew has a lot of filth on his mind. And I’ve no doubt that Darragh can come up with something special – he may seem clean living, but he’s just a dirtmonger at heart. Guys, consider yourselves tagged.

The rules:

  • Choose three activities that would antagonize the aroma and get up people’s noses
  • Make sure they’re at least a little physical
  • Keep them relatively simple, safe and legal
  • Link your answers back here
  • Give credit to the person who tagged you
  • Tag three others

Oh, and if Maxi picks your challenge, you’ll get something very special – an official Smellumentary T-shirt, which he may even wear before giving to you…if you ask nicely.

7 responses so far

Sep 29 2008

Coronas In Greystones

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Maybe I should give up training to be an accountant and become an events organiser instead. It sounds like a lot more fun.

The CoronasCoronas are playing in Greystones, in the new theatre, on Sunday 5th October at 8pm. It’s a great venue with incredible sound, so it’s sure to be a good gig. Tickets are only €15 and we’ll be having a few drinks before and afterwards. Drop me a mail (darren at darrenbyrne dot com) if you want to come along and you can pay for the tickets on the night. Also, I’ll be taking the Monday off, if anyone plans on joining me for a late one (Anto, I’m talking to you here).

If you don’t know who Coronas are, then shame on you, but here’s their website.  Also, invite as many as you like – just let me know the numbers before Friday.

Additionally, just to give you a heads up – I’ll also be arranging a big night out for the end of Lottie‘s exams on October 10th, with The Flaws playing in Greystones Theatre too. It’ll be one of our now infamous cocktail nights. It’s the night before the Web Awards on the 11th, so let’s make a mad weekend out of it. I’ll talk more about that next week.

So, to the very few of you who have not been down to our apartment yet, let me know if you need directions, DART times, bus times, etc.

3 responses so far

Sep 24 2008

Is Jason Statham The Last Action Hero?

Published by under Blog,Movie Review,Movies

Death RaceThanks again to, we went to a preview of Death Race last night in Dundrum. This action movie with Jason Statham falls into the guilty pleasures category of my film tastes. Director, Paul W.S. Anderson, has also helmed the brilliant Event Horizon, along with the action packed Resident Evil and Alien vs Predator. I went into this movie with the full intention of switching my brain into autopilot and just enjoying the ride.

In the eighties, we had Schwarzenegger, Stalone, Van Damme, Seagal, John McClane, even Lethal Weapon brought out a great action star in Mel Gibson. Nowadays however, short of the occasional Bourne movie, the brief return of Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4 and the plethora of comic book movies, the action movie genre has become a bit watered down. Wonderful as the Dark Knight was, a man in tights just doesn’t inspire the same raw, instinctive growl deep down in the male psyche than seeing some reluctant cop in a vest crawl across broken glass while being shot at by German terrorists. Even Bond is a bit watery these days. So, I ask, is the action hero dead and gone, with Charles Bronson in his grave?

Death RaceJason Statham says no. To action fans Statham is already a star. Lock Stock, Snatch, The Transporter, Mean Machine and last years plotless but high octane adrenaline fest Crank secured him a cult following. He is a no-apologies, blunt, brutal action man, who cares little for plot or emotional drama and prefers to pump muscles and drive cars.

There is a loose plot to Death Race, which is a remake of the 1975 movie Death Race 2000. Essentially, Jensen Ames (Statham) is framed for the murder of his wife and is sentenced to prison. In a few years time, when the world economy is gone to shit and crime is an epidemic; the prisons have become the new Big Brother, where the inmates fight to the death to gain their freedom. The most popular ‘sport’ is the Death Race, where the drivers must bash, smash and crash their way across the finish line. If they kill a few opponents along the way, all the better. But this plot matters not. It’s an excuse to fill the screen with gratuitous violence, hot women and fast cars. The trick that this movie pulls, however, is that it makes no apologies for it. The Coach (played by a brilliant Ian McShane) even explains away the big breasted beauties as being good for ratings.

Death RaceThe movie is further improved by some solid supporting roles. McShane is flawless and even Tyrese Gibson presents a formidable foe for Ames. Joan Allen, in the role of prison warden Hennessy, is a stroke of genius though. I don’t know why this Oscar Nominated actress agreed to do this movie, but I’m glad she did. Her script shows that the film makers had their tongues firmly in cheek when making Death Race. With gusto and sheer joy she delivers the best (and worst) line of the movie –

Okay cocksucker. Fuck with me, and we’ll see who shits on the sidewalk.

Death RaceIt’s camp, over the top, fueled with energy from the explosive start right to the, well, explosive finish. Maybe it’s a bad movie but I loved it. A bad comedy can be saved by making the audiences laugh enough. A bad horror movie can be saved by scaring the bejaysus out of people. So, perhaps a bad action movie can be saved by being so fuel injected, so hyper, so insanely visual that it has the audiences pumping with adrenaline and joy. A grown man, sitting behind us in the cinema, actually screamed at one point. Surely that’s reason enough to go see this movie.

8 responses so far

Sep 23 2008

Speaking Of Theme Tunes…

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Whatever happened the Charlotte Church Show? I really enjoyed it. She was surprisingly funny (for an ex-classical singer and failed pop princess) and I loved the opening to each of her shows, when she sang her theme tune each week in a different style, with differing topical verses.

Here’s a few:



10 responses so far

Sep 23 2008

I’ve Had The Theme Of My Life

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Raptureponies asked us last week what our theme tune would be and I am surprised how tough it’s been to pick a song for me. A few weeks ago, a friend of my asked me what song would I like played in my final moments as the zombies had surrounded me and the only thing I could do was go out fighting. For that, I picked Voodoo Child by Rogue Traders:

And I guess I could use that as my theme, but it doesn’t quite fit unless I’m in serious peril and am likely to be beating in the heads of the undead (being sure to sever the spinal column).

Last week, I listened to Bolero (the version from the end of Moulin Rouge) on repeat. It’s invigorating, it’s joyful, but it’s a bit pretentious. I’d like to have a theme tune that was a bit more ‘everyman’.

I thought about House of the Rising Sun, but there’s too much seediness associated with it. And I’m probably a little young for Stairway to Heaven to be my theme. I flicked through my most played list on my iPod and swiftly discounted Sweet Transvestite (too gay), Tom Waits’ Falling Down and Town With No Cheer (I’m far too positive for those two), Monty Python’s Always Look On the Bright Side of Life (I’m not that positive) and I Like Chinese (a personal theme tune should not have racist undertones, regardless the comic value).

I settled on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (Jack L‘s version) for a while, as it is definitely one of my favourite songs, but it’s a bit too obvious. I want something a bit more off beat.

So, for the moment at least, I’m settling on a different Jack L cover, Jacky, originally sung in French by Jacques Brel. The song of a great man and his journey from the gutters to the stars. It’s a brilliant tune and for now, you can here it on Jack L’s MySpace page.

3 responses so far

Sep 22 2008

Milking It…

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I‘m playing catch up a bit. Last weekend, some random weirdos invaded my home, forced me into my shower, and demanded I drink milk, while they photographed me.

Darren Milk

I felt so used…and a bit dirty…Lottie seemed to enjoy it though

2 responses so far

Sep 22 2008

Ricky Gervais Takes His Emmy Back

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I hated The Office – I just didn’t get it, but I loved Extras. In stand-up Ricky Gervais is excellent and this clip from the Emmy’s Emmys yesterday is comedy gold. Maybe I’ll give The Office another go…

13 responses so far

Sep 22 2008

The Rare Auld Times

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This year has flown by so fast for me. It’s been non-stop. Whether it be busy in work, or having a constant social life, time has ran away from me. So much so that I have to force myself to stop, look around and appreciate what the hell is going on.

I was reminded at last night’s show in the Olympia how fast time truly has been running. The Dubliners were at Ronnie Drew‘s months mind mass yesterday. One month has already passed since the death of the great man. I can’t believe it. It’s gone so fast.

So, I was glad to be reminded by John Sheahan last night – reminded to take a breath, be grateful for the life I have and enjoy every minute of it.

John Sheahan, long time friend of Drew’s and fellow Dubliners band member, recited a poem for Ronnie:

Ronnie’s Heaven

What’s it like, Ronnie, your new life?

Is it the way the old masters painted it;

Floating on the damp clouds,

In the company of winged creatures,

Listening to non-stop harp music?

I could paint you in,

But not your expectations,

“Would somebody, for Christ’s sake, get me down from here,

And show me the fountain of Champagne,

I thought this was meant to be a celebration.”

I’ll paint a different picture instead,

I see your spirit freed at last from earthly shackles,

Soaring to a new consciousness,

Communicating with Kavanagh without the incumbrance of words

Without the embarassment of being barred from four Baggot Street pubs

All clear now,

Ulysses simpler than The Lord’s Prayer,

Beckett no longer waiting for Godot

And Joe O’Broin sidling over with an impish grin

“Howya Ronnie, you brought me fame at last,

I hear Cliodhna and Phelim picked me poem for the end of your mass.

But you needn’t have hurried,

There’s no closing time up here

Just one continuous holy hour.”

Now Deirdre comes into focus,

Bridging a painful gap of fourteen months,

Unhindered by bodies, your spirits embrace,

And entwine in a never ending spiral of joy,

Leaving behind the three great imponderables that tortured you:

What is life?

What is art?

And where the fuck is Barney?

© John Sheahan

3 responses so far

Sep 22 2008

A Night To Remember John Brogan

John Brogan at the OlympiaLast night was a special event and I am lucky to have been in attendance. John Brogan, stage manager of the Olympia Theatre for over 30 years, celebrated his retirement with an amazing night of music.

Over the years, whether loved or hated by the thousands of acts he told “don’t put that there”, it’s clear that he left an indelible impression on everyone he met, helping bring their performances to life on stage. Many of those performers were delighted to return to the stage last night in his honour.


PantiI‘ll admit to being somewhat concerned when the larger than life drag queen, Panti, catwalked onto the stage to MC the proceedings, but I needn’t have worried. Her cynical charm and no bullshit commentary provided the balance the otherwise congratulatory evening required. Flirting with a collection of non responsive performers, she was very much in control of the night.


The first act brought on was the Coronas, an unusual but very welcome set. Unusual because they have not had a full performance at the Olympia yet and welcome because I’m a fan and my appetite is now whetted for their night in Greystones Theatre on October 5th. I found myself wondering if they set the tone for the night. I doubted it – and what came next proved it.


The Coronas


Twink and John BroganPerhaps the only thing more camp than Panti came on next – Twink. Thankfully, she didn’t sing. However, mad as the woman may be, she does give good theatre and her very heartfelt and genuine reminiscence of John Brogan was a note perfectly struck. Funny and warm, she was the ideal person to introduce the man of the hour, John Brogan, to a standing ovation.

Dustin the TurkeyUnfortunately, John was not given the opportunity to regale us with ancient anecdotes, as he was interrupted by a turkey. No, Pat Kenny did not show up, Dustin did. Slight but fun banter swiftly gave way for the return of Panti to introduce one of the beauties of the evening.


Francis Black has an Irish angel’s voice and she used it to its fullest performing two of her classics, Christy Hennessy’s All the Lies That You Told Me and the heartbreaking Wall of Tears. Perhaps it did bring a mushy element to the proceedings, but I loved it. Truly beautiful.


Brian KennedyNext we saw Brian Kennedy, AKA Mr. Cringe, so much so that I welcomed the distraction of the loud skangers behind me being kicked out of the theatre. He performed You Raise Me Up that brought tears to a lot fo people’s eyes. I was in tears because he seemed to go on forever. He pranced round the stage worse than Daniel O’Donnell. He was Eoin McLove without the humour. The man has a voice, but why he needs to girate his hips while using it is beyond me.


Declan O’Rourke may have been a little off form singing Gallileo, but his words about Brogan came from the heart. Brief and poignant, he simply said, “I‘m going to miss him“.


The Dubliners


This was the first time the remaining members of The Dubliners have come together for a public performance since the passing of Ronnie Drew. Indeed, yesterday was Ronnie’s month’s mind mass. It brought a sombre but respectful note to the evening Barney from The Dublinersand John Sheahan‘s poem to Ronnie made up for in pure emotion what it maybe lacked in eloquence.

The tiny leprechan on a banjo, Bernard ‘Barney‘ McKenna too was a treat. His rendition of The Dubliners classic I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me was one of the highlights of the evening. Overall the four members of The Dubliners (including just two original members) were wondeful, warm, funny and enthusiastic. Having whipped the crowd up, it was a shame the evening took a break after their set.


Though Tom Dunne looked surprisingly uncomfortable up on stage, Something Happens got the whole of the Olympia going again. Loud, abrasive and very tight, the eighties/early nineties Irish pop act proved they still have it. The now classic Parachute sounded fresher than ever.


Something Happens


One surprise of the evening was how fantastic Mary Coughlin was. Looking great and sounding rough and ready, but better than ever she teased us with I Wanna Be Seduced, before bowling me over with a fabulous I Would Rather Go Blind. Ireland’s original cabaret belle is back.


Mary Coughlin

One wonders if Declan O’Rourke, Barney McKenna and Sharon Shannon are drinking from the same water supply. Shannon’s diminutive frame came out on stage and we all got our binoculars ready. Her set was more an exercise in showing the band’s prowess than her own. The Penguin was flawless and though not as well received by the audience as some of the Dubliner’s songs, it was, for me, proof that Traditional Irish music isn’t going anywhere.


Camille O'SulivanThe ever wonderful, always spectacular, painfully sexy Camille O’Sullivan performed just three tracks, but stole the show as far as I’m concerned. In These Shoes, her perennial signature tune, introduced the band and set the tone. Here was the reason John Brogan did this job for as long as he did – to see truly great performers make the fullest use of his stage, to witness spectacles and to fall in love with the show.

For John, she dedicated Nick Cave’s The Ship Song:



Brian Whitehead, current manager of the Olympia and just one of the many John has worked with over almost 40 years, brought along Maureen Grant, the bar manager, to present John with a photograph of all the current staff and a Waterford Crystal commemorative bowl. A man of few words, John Brogan was clearly moved as he thanked everyone for making his time in the Olympia great. He begins his speech with “I‘d like to tell Brian Whitehead, I’m not leaving.” Laughter all around, but there was a slight hint of apprehension – afterall, he’s threatened retirement before.


John Brogan, Brian Whitehead, Maureen Grant


The Fleadh Cowboys, a band who were regulars in the early days of Midnight at the Olympia, finished the night. Their final song, Bob Dylan’s May You Stay Forever Young, was a nice sentiment, but judging by the respect and reverence everyone holds for this great man, I think John Brogan will forever be remembered, fondly and respectfully, as the old man of the Olympia. Have a good and long retirement, John.



5 responses so far

Sep 22 2008

Wicked News To Delight The Fair Lottie

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Wicked - The MusicalAccording to the excellent news section, the what-happened-next musical about the events following Dorothy’s departure from Oz, Wicked, is on its way to the big screen. Though yet to see it on stage, it is Lottie‘s favourite musical and she can be reduced to a giggling child just by throwing on the soundtrack.

Admittedly, I’m quite excited too about this great story coming to the cinemas, but we’ll have to arrange a trip to New York before then to catch it on Broadway.

9 responses so far

Sep 19 2008


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Stupid stupid stupid…

(but fun)

16 responses so far

Sep 18 2008

Brief Mini Kind Of O2 Update

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Just so you all know, I am still awaiting a reply from O2 with an apology or explanation for the attitudes of the O2 Store staff for the delay in dealing with my complaints. It isn’t bothering me anymore. They have lost a customer in me. I had planned on moving mobile providers away from Vodafone to O2 and there is no chance of that now. We will be buying another Mac in a couple of months. I will be buying it from The Mac Shop (thank you Shane for the nod) rather than the O2 Experience Store. I doubt they care, but over time, if they don’t improve their service, more and more people will turn away from them and they will begin to feel it in their balance sheet.

Previous Posts: O2, Oh Dear and O2’s Response (Part One?)

7 responses so far

Sep 18 2008

The Return Of The Ghostbusters

Published by under Blog,Movies

GhostbustersThe first Ghostbusters was a masterclass in comedy and chemistry between actors. Murray and Aykroyd stole the show and were ably backed up by a fantastic cast in Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis. Ivan Reitman directed a movie that was an instant comic classic.

Five years later, they followed it up with a hyper version of the original. A stronger script, better use of the supporting cast (Annie Potts as Janine and Peter MacNicol as Janosz are excellent). They even managed to top the marshmallow man finish of the original by bringing to life America’s greatest symbol of freedom, The Statue of Liberty. The movies, placed side by side, are perfect. They encapsulate all that was good about 80’s family cinema, without dipping into the schmaltzy Disney bucket of emotion.

Ghostbusters 3So, twenty years on, they’ve finally announced plans to make the movie that has been sitting in development hell for, well, twenty years – Ghostbusters 3. Do we need it? No – the Ghostbusters box set sits proudly and complete on many a DVD shelf across the world. There will be few people crying into their pints if the movie goes unmade. Do we want it? Maybe – there’s a part of me that want to see those characters again, to hear some more of Peter Venkman’s wisecracks, to laugh at Ray Stantz doe-eyed expressions, but this is accompanied by a huge concern that they won’t get it right. Every fan has had two decades to imagine the return of the foursome and I doubt it’s possible to live up to expectations at this stage.

That said, it was always a pet project for Aykroyd and Ramis – so, if anyone could do justice to it, it would be them. They have had the same two decades to dream up the return of the Ghostbusters. This time around they’ll have a bigger budget, they’ll have CG at their disposal, they will undoubtedly be able to attract any actors of their choice into bit roles for the movie. There are a lot of pluses.

But there are still negatives. Ramis and Aykroyd are just producing the movie. Harold Ramis recently confirmed that, this time, the script is being handled by US Office writers, Gene Stupnisky and Lee Eisenberg. Also, the director of the first two, Ivan Reitman, is not yet fully on board. At present Ramis is the de facto director.


A huge part of me is excited about the return of the Ghostbusters, but the disappointment of Indiana Jones adds to my concerns that this will mar the earlier Ghostbusters movies for me, just as this year’s Crystal Skulls has taken something from the old Indy movies. Time will tell and I’ll be keeping an eye out for any news about this movie right up to its release.


13 responses so far

Sep 17 2008

Wonderful Start To My Morning

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I can think of no better way to wake up properly and be forced to greet the day with fresh eyes and a great attitude, than listening to Bolero from Moulin Rouge on full volume as I walk towards work.


I wasn’t in the best form last week or over the weekend. Why didn’t I just play this track on repeat for an hour? All would have been well with my world.

P.S. For the nerds among us, here’s the same tune put to Doctor Who:

6 responses so far

Sep 13 2008

Update On Repo! The Genetic Opera

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Repo! The Genetic OperaI mentioned the rather bizarre horror-musical back in June. There is still no confirmed release date for this side of the Atlantic but it has been pushed back to 7th November in the US. The soundtrack is being released at the end of the month and the good people at Twisted Pictures have offered us a taster here. It’s a ‘secret download’ so the password is “geneco”. The second track, At The Opera Tonight, is fantastic.

Thanks to razorblade_kiss on the forums for the link.

2 responses so far

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